Istanbul • Ephesus • Pamukkale • Fethiye • Gulet around Fethiye Bay (9 Days/8 Nights)
Prices are per person, double occupancy, in US dollars, and in your own private group
High season supplement ((July - first week of September): $2,000 per group
Subject to availability and dates selected
Single supplement: +$700
Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport
Meet your guide and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel, located in the charming Old City district of Sultanahmet. Traveling along the old city fortifcation walls, you’ll learn a bit about this exciting city along the way. The remainder of the day is at leisure; why notstretch your legs with a walk around the neighborhood, then with dinner on your own at a rooftop restaurant. We can suggest several with great views over the Sea of Marmara!
Day 2: Istanbul
Enjoy two full days of private sightseeing in Istanbul with your knowledgeable guide. Today we explore the Sultanahmet area and visit the Roman-era Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, the underground Basilica Cistern, and the Grand Bazaar. (B)
Day 3: Istanbul
Private sightseeing continues today with visits to the sprawling Topkapi Palace and its Harem Quarters and the Spice Market, followed by a leisurely boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait, and, finally, time permitting, a walking tour through Istanbul's winding backstreets. (B)
Day 4: Istanbul / Ephesus / Sirince old Greek village – Flight to Izmir
After departing from Istanbul in the morning, we arrive in Izmir and begin our drive for about an hour to Ephesus. Ephesus is undoubtedly one of the world's best-preserved ancient cities, with its ruins attracting thousands of visitors from across the globe every year. In Roman times, Ephesus was the provincial capital of Asia Minor with a population of some 250,000 at the height of its glory. The most significant ruin is the immense theater that holds 24,000 spectators and is still used today. We will walk along the Sacred Way and see an ingenious water and sewer system that was constructed beneath the marble pavement; see the Temple of Hadrian, a Corinthian-style structure featuring the head of Medusa as the talisman to keep away evil spirits; and the Library of Celsus, which once held 12,000 ancient scrolls stored in niches in its walls. We will also visit the newly-excavated Terrace Houses where Ephesus' wealthiest residents lived.
Afterwards, we will continue on to Sultankoy, where we learn about local rug-making proceses which include silk extraction, dyeing and weaving. Then, we will break for a fresh and organic al fresco lunch using ingredients from Sultankoy's own farm and orchards.Your hotel is in the quaint village of Sirince, located on a hilltop near Ephesus. You'll have a chance to socialize with the locals and taste the simple but delicious cuisine of the Aegean region at dinner. Originally a Greek-Orthodox community, Sirince is a wonderful example of the two cultures co-existing together.
Day 5: Sirince / Aphrodisias / Pamukkale
After breakfast, we wil begin our drive to Aphrodisias, a well-preserved archaeological site, where excavations began in 1904. Named for Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, the site is also in nearby proximity to a marble quarry, which led to the establishment of a very prolific sculpture school. Sites that await us today include: the stadium, which is in remarkable condition, as well as the amphittheatre, odeon and the focal point of the site, the Temple of Aphrodite. Afterwards, you will have the chance to visit the nearby ancient site of Hierapolis. At the end of our day, we will pay a visit to the world-famous cotton-white travertine formations at Pamukkale (Turkish for “cotton castle”, so named for the calcium-rich waters that formed them). Later, you’ll have time to enjoy the private thermal pool onsite at your hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Pamukkale / Gulet embarkation in Fethiye
This morning, after breakfast, we will continue our drive to Fethiye to board your privately-chartered gulet. In Fethiye, you’ll have time to wander about the town’s shopping district before embarkation in Fethiye Harbor. After boarding and being welcomed by your friendly captain and crew, you’ll have an orientation and itinerary briefing. Later, we will head for a quiet cove for a relaxing dinner and an overnight stay. (B, D)
Day 7 & Day 8: Gulet / Blue Voyage around Fethiye Bay
Spend two full days - and three nights - aboard the gulet, admiring the natural beauty of the Turquoise Coast, while spending your days swimming, snorkeling, hiking onshore, and feasting on fresh homestyle meals served on the open deck. Some of the coves and islands you will see along the way include: the abandoned Greek town of Kayakoy, Agalimani Cove, Tersane Cove, Bedri Rahmi Cove, Cleopatra’s Sunken Baths/Gocek Lagoon, and the Yassica Islands. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Gocek / Istanbul – Homebound departure
This morning, we’ll bid farewell to the crew of our yacht and and drive to Dalaman Airport for a flight to Istanbul, where you will connect to your flight home. (B)